Popular open source mobile development framework "wrapper" PhoneGap has applied for consideration to the Apache Software Foundation and contemplating a name change. In a message in PhoneGap's Google Groups development page, Nitobi software developer Brian Leroux said that the project has "initialized the process to contribute PhoneGap to the Apache Software Foundation" and that they may change the name to Apache DeviceReady.

Except for the name change, this would potentially be a great move for PhoneGap. The Apache Software Foundation is a top-level community of developers and users that provides organizational, legal and financial support to open source projects. Many consider ASF to be among the "developer elite."

There are a couple potential sticking points for PhoneGap concerning the name change. As commenter Matt Lacey said in regards to the name, DeviceReady is an Android testing service that checks applications for compatibility across various Android builds and devices. Leroux said the name change and move to Apache were in part motivated by the battle over the PhoneGap trademark.

Here is what Leroux wrote in PhoneGap's Google Groups forum:

Hello contributors, friends and PhoneGap hackers,

We have initialized the process to contribute PhoneGap to the Apache
Software Foundation (ASF). The process is straightforward beginning w/
a submission of a proposal to the ASF that describes the move in
detail. We've been looking at different options for a foundation
contribution since the beginning. Now is the time. PhoneGap is hugely
adopted and the IP belongs in an org aligned w/ our goals, philosophy
and the web. It will remain free software, licensed as it always has
been: Apache/BSD/MIT.

A key point of consideration w/ the move currently is the name
PhoneGap itself. As some here may know, we have had some litigious
posturing over the PhoneGap Trademark. This is, sadly, common in the
free software world. We wanted to choose something that was in the
spirit of PhoneGap, illustrated the move beyond phones, and did not
relate us to any companies producing khakis. We're thinking, Apache
DeviceReady. Kudos to Jesse for cooking that beauty up after an hour
of anguished brainstorming.

I will post the proposal to the PhoneGap wiki sometime this week. Your
early feedback is appreciated and encouraged.


That was posted on Tuesday, Sept. 27. Checking the PhoneGap Wiki, Leroux nor any other Nitobi developer has posted the ASF proposal as of Sept. 29 10:30 a.m. Eastern Time. Nitobi is based out of Vancouver, so it could come later today or tomorrow.

The Apache Software Foundation hosts a variety of top-notch projects, including XML, HTTP Server and CouchDB (among many more). PhoneGap would benefit from the legal protection of ASF. That would probably not help with the trademark issue but would protect Nitobi's PhoneGap intellectual property going forward.

What do you think? Does PhoneGap have what it takes to be part of ASF? How would this affect their development infrastructure? Let us know in the comments.